Williamsburg Stores To Drop “No Sleeveless, No Low-Cut Necklines” Signs
In the past, I’ve looked at the benefits of homogeneity in certain neighborhoods — like Hasidic enclaves in Williamsburg. 
But there are clearly some problems as well, including the fortress mentality that can develop against outsiders, namely non-Hasidic women who aren’t bound by religious edicts on clothing. A couple years ago, the city sued seven Hasidic stores for posting signs that said “No shorts, no barefoot, no sleeveless, no low-cut necklines allowed in store,” saying that the stores were effectively discriminating against women, and on the basis of religion. 
That lawsuit has been settled.
The city dropped the $75,000 in collective fines it had demanded. In return, the stores have agreed to ease up.

The commissioner’s statement asserted that, according to “the proposed agreement, representatives from the stores agreed that if they were to post new signs in their windows, they would say that while modest dress is appreciated, all individuals are welcome to enter the stores free from discrimination.” [Agudath Israel]

Photo credit: group by Several seconds on Flickr.

Williamsburg Stores To Drop “No Sleeveless, No Low-Cut Necklines” Signs

In the past, I’ve looked at the benefits of homogeneity in certain neighborhoods — like Hasidic enclaves in Williamsburg. 

But there are clearly some problems as well, including the fortress mentality that can develop against outsiders, namely non-Hasidic women who aren’t bound by religious edicts on clothing. A couple years ago, the city sued seven Hasidic stores for posting signs that said “No shorts, no barefoot, no sleeveless, no low-cut necklines allowed in store,” saying that the stores were effectively discriminating against women, and on the basis of religion. 

That lawsuit has been settled.

The city dropped the $75,000 in collective fines it had demanded. In return, the stores have agreed to ease up.

The commissioner’s statement asserted that, according to “the proposed agreement, representatives from the stores agreed that if they were to post new signs in their windows, they would say that while modest dress is appreciated, all individuals are welcome to enter the stores free from discrimination.” [Agudath Israel]

Photo credit: group by Several seconds on Flickr.

gabrielrobertflores
Will tech help lift New York City’s black and Hispanic communities? It’s certainly looking that way. 

Since 2010, the number of blacks working in computer and mathematical occupations — the Census Bureau’s term for tech-related jobs — in the city has risen by 19.7 percent, based on a preliminary analysis of new census data. Over the same stretch, the number of Hispanics in such occupations in New York City has risen by 25.4 percent. By comparison, non-Hispanic whites in computer and mathematical occupations experienced just a 6.4 percent gain since 2010. [NYT]

gabrielrobertflores:

Lower Manhattan, 4.5.2013

Will tech help lift New York City’s black and Hispanic communities? It’s certainly looking that way. 

Since 2010, the number of blacks working in computer and mathematical occupations — the Census Bureau’s term for tech-related jobs — in the city has risen by 19.7 percent, based on a preliminary analysis of new census data. Over the same stretch, the number of Hispanics in such occupations in New York City has risen by 25.4 percent. By comparison, non-Hispanic whites in computer and mathematical occupations experienced just a 6.4 percent gain since 2010. [NYT]

gabrielrobertflores:

Lower Manhattan, 4.5.2013


While diplomatically praising his old rival Ray Kelly, Bratton also noted that there were missed opportunities to curb stop-and-frisk….
“Cops themselves felt that they were in a no-win position. They had an administration, Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Kelly, who were demanding more and more and more. And the cops themselves felt, you know, it’s too much. And the community was saying it’s too much. It’s like a doctor giving too much chemotherapy: ‘Doctor I’m feeling better but you’re giving me all this chemo and I’m feeling worse again.’ ”

— The New York Times
Photo credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

While diplomatically praising his old rival Ray Kelly, Bratton also noted that there were missed opportunities to curb stop-and-frisk….

“Cops themselves felt that they were in a no-win position. They had an administration, Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Kelly, who were demanding more and more and more. And the cops themselves felt, you know, it’s too much. And the community was saying it’s too much. It’s like a doctor giving too much chemotherapy: ‘Doctor I’m feeling better but you’re giving me all this chemo and I’m feeling worse again.’ ”

The New York Times

Photo credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Are Ethnic Enclaves Bad for Immigrants?
What reasonable New Yorker — or tourist — doesn’t love the city’s ethnic enclaves? 
In addition to being great neighborhoods to visit or eat in, they also serve as important transition zones for millions of immigrants, places where they can ease into America while holding onto aspects of the old country. 
But in certain cases, the level of segregation presents a serious downside: scholars say some ethnic enclaves discourage immigrants from learning English, and prevent them from getting decent jobs or much-needed social services.
Brigitte Waldorf, a scholar at Purdue University, has even helped quantify the enclave effect for immigrants from China and Mexico.
Her research suggested that a 35-year-old woman from China — married, living in the U.S. for five years, earning $25,000 a year, and without a high school degree — had a 28 percent chance of knowing English if she were the only Chinese speaker in a given neighborhood. But if she were to live in a Chinese enclave — say, 10 percent Chinese — the likelihood that she would speak English would drop dramatically: to 13.6 percent.
English, says Waldorf, is “an absolute must in American society in order to be fully integrated.”
Listen to the full Micropolis episode here.

Are Ethnic Enclaves Bad for Immigrants?

What reasonable New Yorker — or tourist — doesn’t love the city’s ethnic enclaves? 

In addition to being great neighborhoods to visit or eat in, they also serve as important transition zones for millions of immigrants, places where they can ease into America while holding onto aspects of the old country. 

But in certain cases, the level of segregation presents a serious downside: scholars say some ethnic enclaves discourage immigrants from learning English, and prevent them from getting decent jobs or much-needed social services.

Brigitte Waldorf, a scholar at Purdue University, has even helped quantify the enclave effect for immigrants from China and Mexico.

Her research suggested that a 35-year-old woman from China — married, living in the U.S. for five years, earning $25,000 a year, and without a high school degree — had a 28 percent chance of knowing English if she were the only Chinese speaker in a given neighborhood. But if she were to live in a Chinese enclave — say, 10 percent Chinese — the likelihood that she would speak English would drop dramatically: to 13.6 percent.

English, says Waldorf, is “an absolute must in American society in order to be fully integrated.”

Listen to the full Micropolis episode here.

Artist and sculptor George Ferrandi’s “it felt like i knew you” series: in which she sat next to subway passengers and pretended to fall asleep on their shoulders. Would they push her away? Get up and move to another seat? Smile and enjoy the moment? 

I’ve certainly fallen asleep on some unknown shoulders in my time — except I tend to toss my leg over theirs, and when I’m really comfortable, drool.

Ferrandi told the Atlantic Cities: ”Each time I did this, I had no idea what to expect from the person next to me, so every reaction was surprising. I think the general assumption would be that the reactions might break down along gender lines, with women being understandably more protective of their space, but it really didn’t happen that way. There was no predictable pattern to peoples’ responses, which is part of what is interesting about it. I’m not sure we could even predict what our own responses would be in this situation.”

The Downside of Diversity
These Orthodox Jewish kids live in Midwood, Brooklyn — in the only census tract in New York that is entirely white. But homogeneity’s not all bad — in fact there are some important benefits.
In a new paper, two scholars at Michigan State University argue that the “dense interpersonal networks” that lead to a sense of community do not form in diverse neighborhoods. In fact, diversity and community are essentially incompatible.
"Neighborhoods with the greatest opportunity to develop a respect for diversity (i.e. highly integrated neighborhoods) have the least capacity to foster a sense of community," they write. "Likewise, neighborhoods with the least opportunity for residents to develop a respect for diversity (i.e. highly segregated neighborhoods) have the greatest capacity to foster a sense of community."
I found the same paradigm at work in the Hasidic enclaves of Brooklyn, where an elaborate social safety net has developed via supermarkets — all within an extremely homogeneous environment. It seemed highly unlikely that a similar system would develop within a more diverse community.
For anyone who cherishes the idea of diversity — people of varying backgrounds living next to one another, exchanging ideas and food and maybe the occasional insult — this is probably a bit of a downer.
But Richard Florida says “urbanists and local policy makers might be better off refocusing their efforts away from the unachievable ideal of diverse and cohesive neighborhoods and toward creating cohesion across the various neighborhoods that make up a city.”

The Downside of Diversity

These Orthodox Jewish kids live in Midwood, Brooklyn — in the only census tract in New York that is entirely white. But homogeneity’s not all bad — in fact there are some important benefits.

In a new paper, two scholars at Michigan State University argue that the “dense interpersonal networks” that lead to a sense of community do not form in diverse neighborhoods. In fact, diversity and community are essentially incompatible.

"Neighborhoods with the greatest opportunity to develop a respect for diversity (i.e. highly integrated neighborhoods) have the least capacity to foster a sense of community," they write. "Likewise, neighborhoods with the least opportunity for residents to develop a respect for diversity (i.e. highly segregated neighborhoods) have the greatest capacity to foster a sense of community."

I found the same paradigm at work in the Hasidic enclaves of Brooklyn, where an elaborate social safety net has developed via supermarkets — all within an extremely homogeneous environment. It seemed highly unlikely that a similar system would develop within a more diverse community.

For anyone who cherishes the idea of diversity — people of varying backgrounds living next to one another, exchanging ideas and food and maybe the occasional insult — this is probably a bit of a downer.

But Richard Florida says “urbanists and local policy makers might be better off refocusing their efforts away from the unachievable ideal of diverse and cohesive neighborhoods and toward creating cohesion across the various neighborhoods that make up a city.”

Are New Yorkers getting richer or poorer? 
It’s not quite as straightforward as you might think. Household incomes in relatively affluent neighborhoods like the Upper West Side and Gramercy have gone down by 12 percent. While those in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Central Harlem have risen by 6 percent. 
The biggest declines weren’t in the Bronx but in Brooklyn: both Bensonhurst and the ultra-Orthodox area of Borough Park saw their median household incomes drop by 15 percent. 
Click on the map above.

Are New Yorkers getting richer or poorer? 

It’s not quite as straightforward as you might think. Household incomes in relatively affluent neighborhoods like the Upper West Side and Gramercy have gone down by 12 percent. While those in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Central Harlem have risen by 6 percent. 

The biggest declines weren’t in the Bronx but in Brooklyn: both Bensonhurst and the ultra-Orthodox area of Borough Park saw their median household incomes drop by 15 percent. 

Click on the map above.